Internet is an ever expanding medium. The number of users of the World Wide Web colloquially called as the internet has grown to over 1.02 billion and includes 15 percent population of the World. (World Internet Usage, 2006). This is slated to expand even more rapidly hereafter as it is proving to be an ideal medium for all types of social, business, government and informational transactions. Cyber Rater is a web site rating service which will assess web sites based on their quality, reliability and the timeliness with which they provide information to the user.
The number of web sites is increasing exponentially. A survey by Netcraft for June 2006 reported an increase of 3.96 million sites in one month between May to June. (Webserver Survey, 2006). However the plethora of sites on virtually all subjects has created a problem for the user, as he is unable to assess the efficacy and accuracy of the information provided on the site. Cyber rater will attempt to fill this void, by rating sites and providing these with a verification certificate based on authenticity, quality and speed in providing the information to the user.
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Cyber Rater will be a web based organization, thereby the initial infra structure cost will be restricted to computers and other information technology assets to facilitate speedy access of the net, register the sites, assess these and provide certification. The cyber rater would be a privately owned organization, and would operate as a limited liability company. Here the initial capital outlay for the organization would be raised by the promoters of the business, i.e. those constituting the board of directors. The business is proposed to be started by December 2006 and a healthy return is expected with break even point reached by December 2007.
To facilitate web users in instantly assessing the quality of a web site. Grading web sites on each subject based on quality will be a key facet of the mission. To create excellence on the web by generating a hierarchy of gradation for web sites will be inclusive in the overall mission. To improve the overall content on the web will be the underlying theme of the mission.
Proliferation of web sites as well as the large number of users of the web has created a new market for certification of the best sites based on quality and accuracy of content, timeliness in publication and credibility. This will provide a service to both the user as well as the web site provider. While the user will be able to gravitate to the best web site on a subject, the provider will attempt to improve his content based on authenticity of information, the assessed market needs of the users and the latest web and communication technologies available.
This will greatly facilitate all users such as researchers and students who will get a certified source, the e purchaser, and an authenticated, best bargain without cheating and the business person timely information of opportunities available for commerce to beat the competition. A certified web site rating system will greatly improve the overall quality of the web as it will assist in establishing uniform standards, motivate investments in using state of the art technologies by web sites, adoption of best practices and sustained support will be available through government policies.
The objectives of Cyber Rater will flow from its mission which is to facilitate web users in assessing the quality of a web site thereby enabling them to sort out the best site among the category in which information is being sought for. The objectives will be broken down into three criteria as given below:-
Objectives Related to Users
Objective 1. To provide the users information of the quality of the web site they are accessing to do commercial functions, interact socially or merely to gain information on a subject
Objective 2. To provide knowledge workers assurance of the information that is being accessed by them on the web. This will overcome the present lack of credibility of most web sources for research.
Objective 3. To provide users access to valid and reliable information that are acceptable for academic researches, business and marketing researches, government planning and policy formulation and for individual knowledge enrichment.
Objectives Related To Web Sites
Objective 1. To provide a forum for quality web sites to propagate their value on the web. This will also enable them an opportunity to increase their popularity and revenues.
Objective 2. To generate impetus for improving the overall quality of web sites and web content by creating a hierarchy of excellence.
Objective 3. To disfranchise those web site providers who are not able to provide quality and authenticity to continue on the web. This will come about by their non certification, non access over a period by the user and thus a virtual demise due to infrequent access.
Objectives Related to Business
Objective 1. To follow the highest standards of ethics and values. This is essential to every rating agency and will enable maintenance of credibility and thus attract maximum business in the long term.
Objective 2. To attract the best talent in the profession. This alone will ensure that the assessments made would maintain an even standard and are free from biases of lack of knowledge as well as judgment.
Objective 3. To employ the best technologies available in the field and continue to constantly upgrade them.
Objective 4. To ensure the financial viability of the business and break even within one year.
Plan of operation
The business shall operate in a central facility that provides global service, initially for United States, Canada, and Europe, which will be expanded further to develop a diverse client base in the dot-com industry.
The Cyber Rater in order o meet its stated objective of giving users access to quality web sites would carry out an explicit rating ascribed to websites. In this instance, similar websites would be rated according to their level of information dissemination, reliability of displayed information, validity of information and their accuracy. Base on these criteria for rating websites users would be positioned to assess the quality of web they intend using through the certified rated sign ascribed to each website by Cyber Rater.
Also to meet the mission goal of creating an excellent web hosting, Cyber Rater would create a healthy and excellent web management, in such a way that users would not be lost in mass of junk websites; this will be attain through the assigning of hierarchy and proper rating and certification to registered web.
To improve the overall content and reliability of information dissemination on webs, the underlying theme is directed towards making users of webs to get the most quality information sought at the lest time expended for this. The organization would have its own sites where weekly rated sited categorized according to their specification would be displayed for users access to the best quality site they sought for any pattern of usage they intend utilizing the web.
The creation of a good web management would be ensured through the granting of prototype of quality web creation through contract basis to clients wishing to create standard webs. The quality standard would be maintained in all cases.
In order to carry out an effective rating of websites, periodical data base of existing websites would be sourced through web hosting organizations; and a deal would be entered to existing web search machines , such as www.google.com, www.searchalot.com etc. The gathered data for web rating would be reviewed every month, so as to enlist new webs and observed new innovative trends in existing webs so as to have a better rating and changes taken in cognizance.
Experts and knowledgeable personnel on diverse categories of fields, e.g. academia websites, relationship and social interactive websites, information disseminating websites, entertainment websites, freelancing websites etc., each would carry out a thorough analysis and allocate the rating according to the quality of the websites assessed.
The criteria to be considered on a general bases when rating websites would be on the following:
- The level of accuracy of information dissemination
- The level of current and resourceful information mad available to users
- How the website is structured to ease users access to information
- Ability to generate new information and innovative pattern of dissemination at an interval basis
- The extent of in-depth researching
- The ability to meet users need at the time information is sought.
- The design of the website to capture and attract users.
The above criteria would constitute a general basis for rating webs, but other criteria would be observed for each specific category of websites.
In order to make the organization rating and information dissemination to users and clients most reliable and valid, the rating of websites would be done without bias, or fear or favor. Quality and fairness would be the ethical consideration of Cyber Rater.
Projects shall be on a per-contract basis and the progress of each project shall be monitored by the account executives in coordination with the technical personnel using project management software like the latest version of Microsoft Project Standard. Once certified, the client will be given a seal/logo as proof of their certification which will be placed accordingly in their website.
Business License Acquisition
The business license shall be obtained from the local business licensing authority as well as business registration from the ‘Secretary of State’s Corporations Division, together with the Company’s Articles of Incorporation. Likewise, the Corporate Name shall be reserved via online through the Corporations Division website upon payment of the US$25 filing fee. The Company’s Tax Identification Number shall be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service Office.
Technical. A team of website auditors shall be formed, led by Project Managers that will be initially hired. The Project Managers shall oversee the assessment procedures conducted by the team and the result will be recommended to the Board of Directors for certification. The team shall be composed of the following skilled staff:
- Web analysts
- System analysts
- Information technology officers
A Board of Directors shall likewise be formed to serve as the Certifying body.
Marketing. Three Corporate Account Executives shall be hired for the account management and act as client coordinators. They shall ensure that the needs of the clients will be fulfilled.
Administrative. Support staff shall be hired to perform the administrative support functions of the company. The number of staff shall be determined once total number of personnel has been determined.
Office space shall be leased and the ICT infrastructure, particularly the major ICT services shall be outsourced to be able to focus on the core functions of the Company. These shall include the network infrastructure, lease line access, web hosting, and e-mail hosting.
Major required Equipment for Cyber Rater operation:
- Computer systems with internet compliant; with window 2000 version.
- Off the shelf software to enable adequate search, rating, line access, web hosting, and email hosting.
- High quality modem, to enable interconnectivity
- High quality ISP
- Adequate power backup equipment, e.g. solar energy, diesel plant etc.
- Several telephone lines to enable business communication and effective transactions
Summary of finances needed
The major part of expense will be used to pay the salaries of the employees for technical personnel, marketing account executives, support staff, directors’ per diems,
The other major part of the finances will be infrastructure requirements which will include the contract of lease the of space which will require at least three months advance rental, the outsourcing contract where the outsourcing services for the services will be obtained as well as payment for the purchase of equipments.
To have a complete picture of the needed finance, please refer to Appendix A (Excel file on worksheet: estimates)
The estimated capital requirement will not be too big. With the seven boards of directors, each could just invest an amount just to cover the early expense of the company.
The company will have to liquid then to pay salaries on time. Borrowing will not be resorted to finance the need of the business since customers are also expected to have entered contract with Cyber Rater. Customer is expected to come to the company considering the value that they will have in availing of the service from Cyber Rater. The selling proposition of the company is the assurance of quality of use of websites by internet users. This will drive better quality of the product hence; Cyber Rater is expected to build up its business on the basis of the company strength.
The company will bank on the skill of technical people, hence the reason for paying them higher than other personnel.
Financial Plan with Analysis of Financial Projections
A projected income statement and balance sheet is prepared for Cyber Rater. See Appendix A (Excel File) for projected financial statement for the next five years. As per analysis, the financial plan of Cyber Rater produced Table I below:
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5|
|Return of Sales||-||0.30||0.30||0.30||0.30|
|Debt to Equity Ratio||0.01||0.01||0.01||0.01||0.01|
|See attached Excel file for details (Appendix A)|
Financial plan of the company is based on assumptions made on manpower requirements and the infrastructure requirements.
As one will readily observe the first year will be under break even point, which means that total revenues will be equal expenses. Profits are only expected to be coming starting second year. As revenues as expected to increase per year, the return on sales per year is also expected to increase. As can be seen on the Table I above, return on sales average 30% for the next second to fifth year. Return on sales profitability of the Company.
A 30% return on sales would also mean that every service costing one US dollar rendered to customers the company earns 30 cents. The net income is computed after considering the expenses. Expenses are those spent by the company in providing services. The breakdown comes from the estimate of cost and expenses for the first.
Expenses include the payment of salaries of the different employees which include 3 project managers who will work the three separate shifts. The business is expected to operate 24 hours a day for seven days hence the 3 project managers. Each manager will be assisted by one web analyst, one system analyst and 2 information technology officers each. The salaries of these technical personnel range from 3000 to 5000 dollars per month.
The company will also have to pay the per diems of the members of the Board of Directors, who are to function in the organization, since the board will have only regular meeting each, will have a per diem fee of 1,000 dollars per month.
Marketing people will also form part of the organisation with 3 account executive officers to be hired to become coordinators in addressing client’s needs. They will also be in charged in maintaining and increasing customers which are expected to increase in number starting the second year and yearly onwards. Each account executive will be receiving 4,000 USD per month subject to adjust perhaps on a commission basis should they perform exceeding the targets.
The administrative are indispensable part of the organization, hence there are about all of them, they will assist the account executives and will help in the processing of orders and. Each support staff is to receive 2,500 USD.
For facilities and infrastructure requirement, office space will be leased at 5,000 USD per month, while monthly outsourcing cost is estimated at 3,000 USD per month.
To realize the profitability target of the company, revenues are expected to come from both individual and corporate clients, divided on a 20 to 80% allocation. Corporate client will be given more priority since a more long-term business could be built with the company which could sustain the economy.
Based on forecasted income statement and balance sheet, the company’s liquidity is very much above par. Leverage ratio is also one (1) below for the next five years which means that the business faces less risk since there are great of borrowings or liabilities. This is the result of investments to be purely coming from the members of board of directors, which each one expected to shell 30,000 USD as initial investment.
- Webserver Survey. 2006. June 2006 Webserver Survey. http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2006/06/04/june_2006_web_server_survey.html (24 June 2006)
- World Internet Usage. 2006. Internet Usage Statistics: The Big Picture. http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm (24 June 2006).
- First Stop Business Center – Frequently Asked Questions. Secretary of State. http://www.sos.state.ga.us/firststop/faqs.htm
- Price, A. 2006. “Mastering Web site management with improved guidelines,” published in ISO Focus
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- Bodenhorn, H. , Short-Term Loans and Long-Term Relationships: Relationship Lending in Early America ; Journal of Money, Credit & Banking, Vol. 35, 2003
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